x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Q&A with Alonso: We're contenders

A quick interview with two-time world champion and Spanish driver Fernando Alonso from Spain.

Alonso walks into the paddock at the Silverstone Circuit last week.
Alonso walks into the paddock at the Silverstone Circuit last week.

You qualified third for the British Grand Prix last Sunday, but your race was effectively ruined by a poor start. What happened? We had clutch problems all weekend. I'd had trouble getting away at the start of the formation lap and, before that, driving out of the pit lane was a bit difficult, so I wasn't expecting to make a particularly good start, and I didn't.

You were lying fifth early on, but then you were given a drive-through penalty for putting all four wheels off the road when passing Robert Kubica ? I was hoping to pass him during the tyre stops, but Robert came out ahead of me so I had to attack. Ferrari was instructed to tell you to let Robert back ahead, but he retired before that happened. That's why I got the drive-through penalty, and then the safety car came out. That made things worse, because I couldn't serve my penalty during that period and the whole field bunched up. I pitted when the race resumed and lost about 14 positions. It was difficult to do anything after that. I just tried to enjoy myself and pass as many people as I could, to put on a bit of a show.

Do you feel the penalty was harsh? What the stewards say is always right. You asked the team to stop giving you radio messages. Why? I was lying about 18th with 25 laps to go, so by then it was really just a test session. The team was telling me about the gaps between the cars, but I could see everybody in a queue ahead, so I didn't see the point in having the radio on: I just wanted to enjoy driving.

What do you think about the new-look Silverstone? I think it is similar to before in terms of overtaking. They've added one passing spot but taken away another. The new section is probably safer, though, so overall I think they have made improvements. What is required to get your title challenge back on track? We haven't scored points in the last two races, but there is still a long way to go and we've underlined that we're contenders. I still think we can win the title. After Silverstone, in fact, I'm more convinced about that than ever.